“Tomorrow, when the sun rises, to be openly, proudly LGBTQ+ in the State of Michigan will still be a revolutionary act. But no longer will it be a threat to our civil rights. It’s about damn time,” Arbit said in remarks on the House floor prior to historic vote.

LANSING, Mich. — Today, in a historic vote, the Michigan House of Representatives passed landmark legislation expanding Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Michiganders.

State Representative Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield), the youngest openly LGBTQ+ person ever elected to the Legislature, and the first to represent western Oakland County, delivered remarks on the House floor immediately prior to the historic vote. Arbit’s full remarks can be viewed here, and are condensed excerpted below:

“For nearly 50 years, LGBTQ+ Michiganders have not been afforded the same civil rights as every other Michigander. That is a choice that this body has made over and over and over again. Today, we make a different one.”

“This moment is so meaningful to me, personally, because, like so many across our state, I know what it’s like to feel unseen, unheard, and alone. Like so many across our state, I struggled to find my place in a world that still made me feel as if these things inside me were somehow wrong and shameful.”

“I wish I could go back in time, and find that tortured young man who discovered his backpack by the trash marked up with the word fag, or back further, to that boy who sat alone at lunchtime in middle school, crouched down by his locker, hiding behind a book. I wish I could shake him by the shoulders, and tell him, ‘I know you think it will always be this way, that you will always feel alone. Yes, you will struggle, you will strive, you will fight… but you will survive. And you will succeed and achieve beyond your wildest dreams. Just hold on.’”

“To every gay kid, every LGBTQ+ kid across this state, I want you to know: there are many people in this life who will try to tell you what you are or what you can be. Do not listen to them. Don’t ever change for anyone. Don’t waste this one precious life being anything other than that fearless, truest you. Take it from someone who wasted far too much time hiding. And suffering. I have walked in your shoes, and I have fought your fights. And now, I fight for you.

“Today, I cast my vote because this moment is not just about the LGBTQ+ community – it’s about all of us – it’s about the kind of Michigan we want to build, together. The kind of Michigan where every person has a chance to thrive, no matter where you come from, the color of your skin, the ZIP code of your home, how you worship, or who you love. The kind of Michigan that protects every person’s unalienable rights. Today, we are one step closer to building that kind of Michigan.”

“And to all those who would invoke the word of the Lord to deny us these rights, I remind you: the Lord created us in His own image. Can you not see the Lord in me? Can you not see the Lord in your gay sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews? Can you not see the Lord in us?”

“Madam Speaker, I call on every person of conscience and faith to vote yes on this bill. Because tomorrow, when the sun rises, to be openly, proudly LGBTQ+ in the State of Michigan will still be a revolutionary act. But no longer will it be a threat to our civil rights.”

“It’s about damn time.”